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Thread: Ubuntu on a pen drive

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  1. #1
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    Ubuntu on a pen drive

    Hello! This is my first post on this forum. For lack of a better segue, I'm going to get right to my question. I have a pen drive (64 GB) which I plan to use for Ubuntu. I used the pen drive linux installer (as recommended here: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows ). However this is just the "Live CD" version of Ubuntu. I want to actually install the operating system on the pen drive, rather than just have a bootable "live cd" version of it. Unfortunately I don't know much about making USB drives bootable. Currently any changes I make are lost as soon as I restart the computer. I would like the OS to recognize changes, just as it would if it were installed on a hard drive. Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

    Also, I don't know how to terminate the URL on these forums, so it seems as though that entire paragraph following http:// was linkified.

  2. #2
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    Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal

    Re: Ubuntu on a pen drive

    You could run the installer from another usb drive and when you get to the point where the setup is asking you to format/partition your drive, simply choose your 64 GB usb drive and make sure the bootloader gets installed on your 64 GB drive aswell. But I fear the performance will be terrible, since read/write speeds on such devices are too slow.
    Last edited by thermion; February 20th, 2013 at 08:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Ubuntu on a pen drive

    Quote Originally Posted by thermion View Post
    You could run the installer from another usb drive and when you get to the point where the setup is asking you to format/partition your drive, simply choose your 64 GB usb drive and make sure the bootloader gets installed on you 64 GB drive aswell. But I fear the performance will be terrible, since read/write speeds on such devices are too slow.
    +1
    I have such an installation with Lubuntu on a 16GB USB 3 pendrive. It works quite well to run also in USB 2 ports. The worst part is updating in USB 2, because writing many small files is very inefficient.

    An alternative is a persistent live system, where changes (new files etc) are stored in a casper-rw file or partition. You can find several new threads at the Ubuntu Forums discussing this topic.

    These systems are portable (between computers) if you avoid proprietary drivers (typically for graphics and wifi).

  4. #4
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    Re: Ubuntu on a pen drive

    Performance sucks in USB2, but using a distro like Puppy Linux is a far better alternative or damn small linux if for some reason you must run your operating system from a flash drive.

    Windows 7 can be run from a flash drive too, but again performance is. whatever.

  5. #5
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    Re: Ubuntu on a pen drive

    Hey there.

    I Think there is another aspect to your question - persistent memory.
    This is a file that is put onto the USB where your changes, bookmarks, photos,
    and stuff will be put and saved.

    AND there is a gotcha. At least there used to be.
    If you put 100% it just won't work.
    Put 90 %

    OK.

    Another Gotcha
    the file system of the USB is a limitation.
    I think the program has a requirement that it has to be "fat".

    That means there is a limit of 4 gigs to the file size.
    That means you want a 16 gig usb stick

    You can do the same with an 8gig or 4 gig - if you can find one cheaply.

    Oh yes.
    Have fun.


    Jay
    Last edited by Jay_E; February 20th, 2013 at 08:36 PM. Reason: fix typos

  6. #6
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    Re: Ubuntu on a pen drive

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay_E View Post
    ...
    Another Gotcha
    the file system of the USB is a limitation.
    I think the program has a requirement that it has to be "fat".

    That means there is a limit of 4 gigs to the file size.
    That means you want a 16 gig usb stick
    ...
    Jay
    With a partition for persistence, you have no such limitation

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